The United Soybean Board (USB) continues to drive demand for U.S. soy, thanks to a partnership with Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. Goodyear recently announced field tests for a new tire featuring U.S. soy that the company says may offer consumers increased tread life and a greener alternative to those manufactured solely with petrochemicals.

Goodyear’s announcement marked the public unveiling of a two-year, ongoing collaboration between the soy checkoff and the Akron, Ohio-based company.

“The soy checkoff welcomes the opportunity to partner with Goodyear in bringing this tire to the market,” says Russ Carpenter, a soybean farmer from Trumansburg, N.Y. and chair of the USB New Uses program. “The checkoff constantly looks for ways to improve the value of soy oil to U.S. soybean farmers and this new tire highlights soy’s versatility in the marketplace.”

The partnership began two years ago, after the 2008 spike in crude oil prices prompted Goodyear to evaluate petrochemical alternatives and propose research exploring soy oil’s potential in its products. In full production, Goodyear estimates that it could use 7 million gallons of soy oil annually.

Goodyear’s testing found that using soy not only lowered petrochemical amounts from the tire’s manufacturing process, but also increased its efficiency by reducing energy and greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, soy oil’s increased performance may yield up to 10 percent longer tread life.

“Goodyear is committed to caring for the environment and communities, and use of soy oil proves to be another way to accomplish this goal,” said Jean-Claude Kihn, Goodyear’s chief technical officer. “Consumers benefit through improved tread life, Goodyear gains with increased efficiency and energy savings and we all win whenever there is a positive impact on the environment.”

If real-world testing runs smoothly, Goodyear expects the new soy-based tires to be available for purchase as early as 2015.

For more information about Goodyear and its products, go to www.goodyear.com/corporate.

For more information on the United Soybean Board, visit www.unitedsoybean.org.